How Much Does the GI Bill Pay For Tuition?

The GI Bill is one of the most generous education benefit programs in the United States, providing financial assistance to veterans servicemembers and their families pursuing higher education or job training. But one common question many people have is – how much does the GI Bill actually pay for tuition?

The answer depends on a few key factors:

Types of GI Bill Programs

There are several GI Bill programs each with their own rules on tuition coverage

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill – The most widely used GI Bill program. It pays up to the full cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges and universities or up to a national maximum per academic year at private institutions. For 2023-2024, the maximum is $27,120.05.

  • Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) – An older GI Bill program that provides up to $2,150 per month directly to the veteran to cover education costs.

  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance – Provides up to 45 months of education benefits to eligible dependents and spouses of veterans Pays a monthly allowance similar to the MGIB

  • Fry Scholarship – Provides Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to the children and dependents of servicemembers who died in the line of duty after 9/11.

So the first thing to know is which GI Bill program you’re using, as that determines how tuition is covered.

Percentage of Benefits Earned

For most GI Bill programs, the actual amount you receive depends on your length of service.

With the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans who served at least 36 months of active duty are eligible for 100% of benefits. That includes full tuition coverage up to the annual cap.

Veterans with shorter service receive prorated benefits based on time served. For example, serving at least 30 continuous days but less than 6 months makes you eligible for 50% of the full benefit.

Type of School

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays different maximum amounts depending on the type of school:

  • For public in-state schools, it covers 100% of tuition and fees.

  • For private schools and out-of-state public schools, it pays up to $27,120.05 for the 2023-2024 school year.

  • For foreign schools, online schools, and non-degree programs, the maximum is $27,120.05.

  • For flight training programs, the maximum is $15,497.15.

So while the GI Bill often covers full tuition, veterans attending higher-cost private or out-of-state schools may have some out-of-pocket costs.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program can help cover additional tuition costs above the GI Bill limits at participating schools. Schools voluntarily enter agreements to cover a portion of those excess costs, with VA matching the amount provided by the school.

This allows veterans to attend higher-cost institutions with little or no out-of-pocket tuition and fees, as long as the school participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Examples of GI Bill Tuition Payments

Here are some examples of how much tuition the GI Bill may cover for different students:

  • Fred is attending a public university full-time for an in-state tuition rate of $8,500 per year. He served 5 years on active duty and is eligible for 100% of Post-9/11 benefits. In Fred’s case, the GI Bill would pay 100% of his $8,500 tuition.

  • Lisa is attending a private college full-time with an annual tuition of $35,000. She served 2 years on active duty and qualifies for 80% of benefits. The Post-9/11 GI Bill would pay 80% of the annual maximum of $27,120.05, which is $21,696.04 – leaving Lisa with $13,303.96 to cover.

  • Bob is enrolled at an out-of-state public university with a tuition of $18,000 per year. He served 20 months on active duty and is eligible for 70% of benefits. The GI Bill would pay 70% of his $18,000 tuition, which is $12,600 – leaving Bob with $5,400 to pay out-of-pocket.

  • Mark served 4 years on active duty and is attending a private university with a tuition of $42,000. The school participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, contributing $5,000 per year. The GI Bill would cover the $27,120.05 annual maximum plus match the school’s $5,000. So in Mark’s case, the GI Bill would cover $32,120.05 of his $42,000 tuition.

These examples illustrate how GI Bill tuition payments can vary widely based on the veteran’s length of service, their school, and other factors. The only way to know exactly how much tuition will be covered is to apply for GI Bill benefits and receive a statement of benefits.

Other GI Bill Benefits

Aside from helping pay tuition, the GI Bill provides other education funding including:

  • A monthly housing allowance while attending school. This averages around $2,100 per month for those studying in-person.

  • Up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies.

  • A one-time rural benefit payment of $500 to veterans who must relocate from highly rural areas.

  • The ability to receive tutorial assistance payments up to $100 per month.

So in addition to tuition coverage, the GI Bill provides significant financial assistance to student veterans through monthly stipends, textbook stipends, and other benefits.

Applying for GI Bill Benefits

To receive GI Bill tuition payments and other education benefits, you must first apply with the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can submit an application online at or by completing VA Form 22-1990.

You’ll need to provide information like your military service history, program of study, and the school you are attending. The VA will process your application and send you a Certificate of Eligibility if approved.

It’s important to apply as early as possible when considering use of your GI Bill benefits. This gives the VA time to process your request and communicate with your school’s certifying official.

Ongoing Requirements to Receive Benefits

After being approved for benefits, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress and conduct to continue receiving your GI Bill payments. This generally means maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher and avoiding misconduct.

You’ll also need to verify your enrollment each semester to confirm your classes and tuition amounts with the VA. Your school’s certifying official typically submits your enrollment information on your behalf.

Finally, be sure to notify the VA of any changes to your program, such as school transfers, class drops, or changes in active duty status. This ensures your tuition and housing payments are adjusted accordingly.

GI Bill a Powerful Education Benefit

The GI Bill can transform lives by providing veterans, servicemembers, and their families with tremendous education benefits. Tuition costs have risen substantially at U.S. colleges and universities, making the GI Bill an increasingly valuable resource.

While the actual tuition payments made by the GI Bill can vary, it has the potential to cover 100% of tuition for qualifying veterans attending public in-state schools. Even at private institutions, generous tuition caps allow student veterans to offset a majority of their education costs.

The GI Bill opens doors to higher education and new career opportunities for those who bravely served our country. Understanding exactly how much tuition assistance the GI Bill provides is key to maximizing its benefits.

How Much Does Gi Bill Pay For Tuition

Full rates for school and training programs

Effective August 1, 2023, to July 31, 2024

We’ll send your tuition and fees directly to your school or training program.

The amounts listed here are the maximum amounts we’ll pay this academic year for each type of school or training program. If you’re eligible for a percentage of the full benefit, multiply the amount by your percentage. This will give you the maximum amount we’ll pay this academic year.

Find out the full rate based on what type of school you’re attending:

  • Public institution of higher learning (like a state university or community college): We’ll pay the net tuition and mandatory fees. You may be able to get in-state tuition rates at a public school even if you haven’t lived in the state where the school is located. Learn more about in-state tuition rates
  • Private institution of higher learning: We’ll pay the net tuition and mandatory fees up to $27,120.05.
  • Foreign institution of higher learning (a college or university, whether public or private, in a country outside the U.S.): We’ll pay the net tuition and mandatory fees up to $27,120.05 in U.S. dollars.
  • Non-college degree programs (specific training programs like HVAC repair, truck driving, EMT, or beautician school): We’ll pay the net tuition and mandatory fees up to $27,120.05.
  • Flight training (a non-degree certificate or rating program): We’ll pay the net tuition and mandatory fees up to $15,497.15.
  • Correspondence school (usually courses provided by mail that you complete at your own pace): We’ll pay the net tuition and mandatory fees up to $13,172.57.

You may be eligible for money to help pay for your housing while you’re studying. If you’re eligible for monthly housing allowance (MHA), we’ll pay you this allowance at the end of each month.

We’ll pay you a percentage of the full monthly housing allowance (called a “prorated payment”) based on these 2 factors:

  • The percentage of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits you’re eligible for, and
  • How many credits you’re taking or how many clock hours you’re scheduled to attend per week

You’re not eligible for an MHA payment if any of these are true:

  • You’re on active duty, or
  • You’re a spouse using transferred benefits while the Veteran is on active duty, or
  • You’re in school half time or less than half time, or
  • You’re taking correspondence training or flight training, or
  • You’re on break from school

We base your MHA on the monthly military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates for an E-5 with dependents. This is called the resident MHA. We use the 2023 rates to calculate the MHA you get between August 1, 2023, and July 31, 2024.

You can use the Defense Department (DOD) lookup tool on the Defense Travel Management Office website to find out how much money you may be eligible to receive for housing. You’ll need the zip code for your school to get started.

We base your monthly housing allowance on the national average.

We’ll pay you up to $1,054.50 (equal to half the national average for MHA). This is the maximum amount we’ll pay you each month.

Note: If you take at least one class in person while taking other online learning classes, you may be eligible for the higher resident MHA.

We base your monthly housing allowance on the national average.

We’ll pay you up to $2,109.00 (equal to the national average for MHA). This is the maximum amount we’ll pay you each month.

Money to help you move from a rural area

If you need to relocate from a highly rural area so you can attend school, we may give you a one-time payment of $500 to help with your moving expenses.

You may be eligible for this Post-9/11 GI Bill rural grant if the description listed here is true for you.

This must be true:

You live in a county with no more than 6 people per square mile, as determined by the most recent U.S. census.

And one of these must be true:

  • You need to physically relocate at least 500 miles away from your home to attend school, or
  • You need to travel by air to physically attend school because you don’t have the option to travel by car, train, bus, or other ground transportation

If your college or university tuition costs more than the maximum payment, you may be eligible for added payments through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

If you’re struggling with your coursework, you may be eligible for up to $100 per month, up to $1,200 total, for tutorial assistance. Learn more about tutorial assistance

If you’re enrolled in a school or professional training program, you may be eligible to earn extra money through a part-time job related to VA work.

Full BAH Benefits for Student Veterans in Online Programs

How much does the GI Bill pay for a public school?

If you are attending a public school with tuition of $10,000 per semester, 80% of your tuition and fees, or $8,000, would be paid by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The GI Bill can pay up to the full resident tuition at any public school if you are qualified to receive benefits at the 100% rate based on your active service shown above.

How much does the GI Bill pay per credit hour?

It is paid proportionately based on the number of credits taken by each student at $41.67 per credit hour. The Post-9/11 GI Bill also includes a provision to help students avoid some or all of the out-of-pocket tuition and fees associated with education programs that may exceed the Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition benefit.

What are GI Bill benefits?

GI Bill benefits help you pay for college, graduate school, and training programs. Since 1944, the GI Bill has helped qualifying Veterans and their family members get money to cover all or some of the costs for school or training. Learn more about GI Bill benefits on this page—and how to apply for them.

How much does GI Bill increase a year?

Effective Aug. 1, those using the Post-9/11 GI Bill at a private or foreign school will see their maximum yearly GI Bill rate increase from $27,120.05 to $28,937.09. Those who are enrolled in flight schools will see their annual maximum GI Bill benefit increase from $15,497.15 to $16,535.46.

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